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Georgia 72, Florida 60: Gators go cold, fall in Athens

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You wanna guess how it happened?

NCAA Basketball: Florida at Georgia Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The Florida Gators scored only in brief spurts, struggled to defend competently for long stretches, and failed to shut down their foe’s interior game on Tuesday.

Also, they lost — but you knew that, right?

The Gators’ 72-60 loss to Georgia had all the hallmarks of their worst losses this year.

Bad three-point shooting? Check. The Gators were just nine-for-26 on the night, and while that’s not “bad” for most teams, it was fatal for the Gators, so dependent on getting points from distance.

Woeful interior defense? Yup. Florida gave up 20 points and seven boards to Yante Maten, only slightly above and below his season averages, but also allowed a staggering 15 offensive rebounds, and yielded four of them to Nicolas Claxton, who also collected three blocks while playing the entire game as a young giraffe would.

A long, miserable stretch of poor offense? Unquestionably. The Gators actually had two spans of more than seven minutes of game clock with just one made basket.

You could be forgiven for forgetting the seven-minute stretch in the first half that helped give the Bulldogs the lead, though. It did, in fact, pale in comparison to the nearly 10-minute one in the second half in which Florida made one of 21 shots, helping turn a five-point lead into a 13-point deficit before a three by Keith Stone with just more than a minute remaining began a spurt of back-and-forth scoring that did nothing to change the outcome of the game.

Arguably, Florida did play fine perimeter defense — but while Georgia made just eight of 25 threes, 32 percent is slightly above the Dawgs’ seasonal average, and two of those threes were makes by Tyree Crump, who had made multiple threes just once since Kwanzaa.

Really, this was a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad sort of night for the Gators, who got 15 points from Chris Chiozza and 13 from Egor Koulechov — and a great example of just how poorly they can play.

They would do well to learn from it.